Northern Virginia leaders celebrated the ceremonial opening of the new interchange at U.S. 15 and I-66 Tuesday morning as the first of several expected diverging diamond interchanges in the area.
The new interchange first partially opened this winter, and fully opened in the last few weeks. It sends traffic on Rte. 15 across to the left side of the road above I-66 before moving traffic back to the right side on the other side of the highway.
The design is meant to cut down on crashes by eliminating left turns across oncoming traffic, while also cutting down on the amount of time traffic is stopped at red lights. The $59 million project also included widening and other upgrades for U.S. 15 and a shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path.
While this is the first interchange of its type in Northern Virginia, and just the third in the state, several more are already planned.
Construction is moving forward for a similar design for Courthouse Road at I-95 in Stafford County; there are plans to put one in at spots such as Nutley Street over I-66 in Fairfax County as part of the new I-66 toll lanes; and Prince William County is hoping to put one in as part of a widening project for Balls Ford Road near Rte. 234 Business.